Bhagavad Gita

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The Bhagavad Gita
Translated by Sri Aurobindo

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PDF (88 pages)
Essays on the Gita

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PDF (607 pages)

(Sri Aurobindo, Essays on the Gita:) “Arjuna and Krishna, this human and this divine, stand together not as seers in the peaceful hermitage of meditation, but as fighter and holder of the reins in the clamorous field, in the midst of the hurtling shafts, in the chariot of battle.”[1]

(M.P. Pandit:) “Before Sri Aurobindo, it was the Bhagavad-gita that raised the value of work investing it with a spiritual importance. The Gita points out how work which normally produces karma, a binding chain, loses that feature and becomes a means for spiritual liberation, if it is done in a disinterested manner, as a sacrifice to the Divine.”[2]

(M.P. Pandit:) “Sri Aurobindo considers the message of the Gita to be the basis of the great spiritual movement which has led and will lead humanity more and more to its liberation, that is to say, to its escape from falsehood and ignorance, towards the truth.
      From the time of its first appearance, the Gita has had an immense spiritual action; but with the new interpretation that Sri Aurobindo has given to it, its influence has increased considerably and has become decisive.”[3]

(Anilbaran in an article on the Gita has tried to bring into it Sri Aurobindo's ideas of transformation, “The Life Divine”, etc. Sri Aurobindo commented on this.)

(Sri Aurobindo, 1940:) “The Gita doesn't speak of transformation. It is his own reading of the Gita. One can say that the Gita shows the way to something further or to our Yoga. What it speaks of is the need to act from a spiritual consciousness using the instruments of the human mind, vital, etc., but not of the transformation of these instruments.

(Purani:) Anilbaran admits this but he says that here and there in the Gita there are hints beyond it.

In that case my claim that our Yoga is new doesn't hold good, and the man who said that the Gita speaks of transformation would be right.

(Purani conveyed Sri Aurobindo's views to Anilbaran. Anilbaran admitted his mistake and said that in the future he would be more cautious and accurate in his statements.)”[4]

(Sri Aurobindo, 1932:) “The Gita does not speak expressly of the Divine Mother; it speaks always of surrender to the Purushottama — it mentions her only as the Para Prakriti who becomes the Jiva, i.e., who manifests the Divine in the multiplicity and through whom all these worlds are created by the Supreme and he himself descends as the Avatar. The Gita follows the Vedantic tradition which leans entirely on the Ishwara aspect of the Divine and speaks little of the Divine Mother because its object is to draw back from world-nature and arrive at the supreme realisation beyond it; the Tantrik tradition leans on the Shakti or Ishwari aspect and makes all depend on the Divine Mother, because its object is to possess and dominate the world-nature and arrive at the supreme realisation through it. This Yoga insists on both the aspects; the surrender to the Divine Mother is essential, for without it there is no fulfilment of the object of the Yoga.”[5]

(Disciple:) “How is it that some of the disciples of Sri Aurobindo preach the message of the Gita for the salvation of the world?

(Mother:) That’s their business. If that makes them happy, it’s all the same to me.

But it has no connection with Sri Aurobindo’s yoga?

One can’t say no connection; but it’s narrow-mindedness, that’s all. They have caught hold of a small bit and make it the whole. But that happens to everybody. Who is capable of grasping the whole, I would like to know? Everyone grasps his bit and makes it his whole.”[6]

(Mother:) “Give me the light and the book. (Mother searches). Here it is, he says, “The Gita... aims at something absolute, unmitigated, uncompromising, a turn, an attitude that will change the whole poise of the soul. Not the mind’s control of vital impulse is its rule, but the strong immobility of an immortal spirit.”
         This is as clear as daylight. The Gita demands the strong immobility of an immortal spirit — all the rest is secondary. What the Gita wants is that the spirit should be conscious of its immortality and thus have a strong immobility.
         For this is a fact, it’s like that. When the spirit is conscious of immortality, it becomes an immobility all made of strength.”[7]

(Mother:) “So Sri Aurobindo says, if you want to realise this teaching of the Gita, the first thing to do is to loosen this knot, the knot binding action to desire — so firmly tied are they that if you take away one you take away the other. He says the knot must be loosened in order to be able to remove desire and yet continue to act.
         And this is a fact, this is what must be done. The knot must be loosened. It is a small inner operation which you can very easily perform; and when it has been performed, you realise that you act absolutely without any personal motive, but moved by a Force higher than your egoistic force, and also more powerful.”[8]

  1. Essays on the Gita, p.19, “The Divine Teacher”
  2. M.P. Pandit, “Pitfalls in Sadhana: Three Sat-sang Talks, February 1987”, p.4
  3. On Thoughts and Aphorisms, p.63
  4. Talks with Sri Aurobindo (Vol. 2), p.958, 16 December 1940
  5. The Mother with Letters on The Mother, p.56
  6. Questions and Answers 1956, p.62
  7. Ibid., p.66
  8. Ibid., p.70

See also